The 25-year-old heir to Pakistan’s most famous political dynasty has spoken out against the monster of militancy with the thunder and roar of an accomplished politico. At the sixth death anniversary of his slain mother, Benazir Bhutto, in his ancestral town of Garhi Khuda Baksh on December 27, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was forthright and clear in his bold stance against the architects of death and destruction. “The only way to save Pakistan is to battle terrorism … and the only party standing against terrorism is the PPP,” he told a massive rally assembled to commemorate the huge sacrifice of their beloved leader for the cause of democracy. In a clear departure from the party’s stated position at an All Parties Conference convened by the government in September, the scion of the Bhutto family rejected all possibilities of talks with militants and wondered aloud: “How can we talk to those who shed the nation’s blood?”
At a time when not many in the political landscape appear inclined to dare the forces of militancy, Bilawal’s hard-hitting speech against the foot soldiers of extremism is a much-needed whiff of fresh air. That he cared not a jot about the fact that he may be putting his own life in danger by setting off such a tirade deserves full appreciation. But at the same time, one cannot help recalling that the PPP, of which Bilawal is the patron-in-chief, fritted away an ample opportunity spanning over five years to rein in militancy — through both carrot and stick — and ensure that the nation is rid of its destructive influence. Now that his party has landed in opposition, its detractors may argue that it is easier to prescribe the sitting government its duty while sitting away from command and control and still take the high moral ground. Be that as it may, Bilawal’s speech, laced with innuendo, sarcasm and scorn, also made a short shrift of the PPP’s political foes — giving clear hint that he was priming himself to take the centre stage in the political arena in due course. Whether or not he succeeds in commanding the charisma of his slain mother remains to be seen but we will say that she would have been proud.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2013.
Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ